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Career and Education Opportunities for Hazardous Materials Handlers in Antioch, California

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for hazardous materials handlers in the Antioch, California area. Currently, 5,000 people work as hazardous materials handlers in California. This is expected to grow 6% to about 5,300 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for hazardous materials handlers are expected to grow by about 14.8%. Hazardous materials handlers generally identify, remove, or dispose of hazardous materials, including asbestos, lead-based paint, waste oil, fuel, transmission fluid, radioactive materials, contaminated soil, etc.

Hazardous materials handlers earn about $19 hourly or $40,050 yearly on average in California and about $17 hourly or $37,310 annually on average nationally. Hazardous materials handlers earn more than people working in the category of Waste Management generally in California and more than people in the Waste Management category nationally.

There are sixty-four schools of higher education in the Antioch area, including one within twenty-five miles of Antioch where you can get a degree to start your career as a hazardous materials handler. Hazardous materials handlers usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so you can expect to spend only a short time training to become a hazardous materials handler if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Hazardous Materials Handler

Hazardous Materials Handler video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, hazardous materials handlers identify, remove, or dispose of hazardous materials, including asbestos, lead-based paint, waste oil, fuel, transmission fluid, radioactive materials, contaminated soil, etc. They also specialized training and certification in hazardous materials handling or a confined entry permit are generally required.

Hazardous materials handlers follow prescribed safety procedures, and comply with federal laws regulating waste disposal methods. They also load and unload materials into containers and onto trucks, using hoists or forklifts. Equally important, hazardous materials handlers have to clean contaminated equipment or areas for re-use, using detergents and solvents and steam cleaners. Finally, hazardous materials handlers operate machines and apparatus to remove or transport loads of waste materials.

Every day, hazardous materials handlers are expected to be able to evaluate problems as they arise. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they maintain precise control of objects and devices through a range of movements.

It is important for hazardous materials handlers to record numbers of containers stored at disposal sites, and specify amounts and types of equipment and waste disposed. They are often called upon to drive trucks or other heavy apparatus to convey contaminated waste to designated sea or ground locations. They also construct scaffolding or build containment areas before beginning abatement or decontamination work. They are sometimes expected to clear away asbestos and/or lead from surfaces, using hand and power tools such as scrapers and high-pressure sprayers. Somewhat less frequently, hazardous materials handlers are also expected to follow prescribed safety procedures, and comply with federal laws regulating waste disposal methods.

Hazardous materials handlers sometimes are asked to identify asbestos or other hazardous materials that need to be removed, using monitoring devices. and package and move irradiated fuel elements in the underwater storage basin of a nuclear reactor plant, using machines and equipment. And finally, they sometimes have to unload baskets of irradiated elements onto packaging machines that automatically insert fuel elements into canisters and secure lids.

Like many other jobs, hazardous materials handlers must be reliable and believe in cooperation and coordination.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Hazardous Materials Handler Training

Merritt College - Oakland, CA

Merritt College, 12500 Campus Dr, Oakland, CA 94619-3196. Merritt College is a medium sized college located in Oakland, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,025 students. Merritt College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Hazardous Materials Management & Waste Technology/Technician which graduated one, zero, and zero students respectively in 2008.


Environmental Technician: NREP provides an Environmental Registry listing for individuals conducting environmental technician job functions.

For more information, see the National Registry of Environmental Professionals website.


Antioch, California
Antioch, California photo by Hughly741

Antioch is located in Contra Costa County, California. It has a population of over 100,219, which has grown by 10.7% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Antioch, 150, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Antioch cost $255,600 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, one hundred twenty-two new homes were constructed in Antioch, down from one hundred fifty-eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Antioch are health care, finance and insurance, and educational services. For men, it is construction, administrative and support and waste management services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average travel time to work is about 42 minutes. More than 18.2% of Antioch residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 4.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Antioch is 12.9%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Antioch residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 38.9%, is less than both the national and state average. Iglesia Biblica Bautista Antioquia, Lone Tree Community Church and Calvary Chapel are all churches located in Antioch. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Baptist General Conference and the LDS (Mormon) Church.

Antioch is home to the Antioch Historical Center and the Lupine Rock Picnic Area as well as Williamson Ranch Park and Fairview Park. Shopping malls in the area include Antioch Square Shopping Center, Raleys Shopping Center and Century Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Antioch can choose from Antioch Executive Inn, Best Western Heritage Inn Antioch and Antioch Comfort Suites for temporary stays in the area.